Republic of Upper Volta

Burkina Faso French Upper Volta History of Burkina Faso
Republic of Upper Volta

République de Haute-Volta (French)
Motto: "Unité – Travail – Justice" (in French)
"Unity – Work – Justice"
Location of Upper Volta
Common languagesFrench
• 1959–1966
Maurice Yaméogo
• 1982–1983
Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
• 1983–1984
Thomas Sankara
High Commissioner 
• 1958–1959
Max Berthet
• 1959–1960
Paul Masson
Prime Minister 
• 1971–1974
Gérard Kango Ouédraogo
• 1983
Thomas Sankara
Historical eraCold War
December 11 1958
August 5, 1960
• Renamed
August 4 1984
CurrencyCFA franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
French Upper Volta
Burkina Faso
Today part of Burkina Faso
Part of a series on the
History of Burkina Faso
Flag of Burkina Faso
c. 3rd–13th century
Mossi Kingdoms c. 11th century – 1896
French Upper Volta
Republic 1958–1984
Burkina Faso
Agacher Strip War 1985
Assassination of Sankara 1987
Compaoré rule 1987–2014
Burkinabè revolution 2014
Transitional period 2014–2015
Burkinabé coup d'état 2015
2015 elections and aftermath 2015–present

The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta), now Burkina Faso, was a landlocked West African country established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community.[1][2] Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960, it attained full independence from France.[3] On August 4, 1984, it changed its name to Burkina Faso.


Map showing the Volta River in Upper Volta.

The name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River. The colors of the national flag corresponded to the names of its three main tributaries — the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta.[4]


Upper Volta obtained independence on August 5, 1960. The first president of the country, Maurice Yaméogo, is at the head of the Alliance for Democracy and the Federation / African Democratic Rally. The 1960 Constitution establishes the election by direct universal suffrage of the President and the National Assembly for a term of five years. Shortly after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the Alliance for Democracy.

Thomas Sankara came to power through a military coup d'état on August 4, 1983.[5] After the coup, he formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with himself as president. Under the direction of Sankara, the country changed its name on August 4, 1984, from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means "Land of Incorruptible People".[6]


From 1958 to 1960, the Republic of Upper Volta was led by a High Commissioner:

From 1971 to 1987, the Republic of Upper Volta was led by a Prime Minister:



The three colors of the national flag of Upper Volta come from the fact that the Volta has three parts:

National Hymn

In French:

Verse 1:

Fière Volta de mes aieux,

Ton soleil ardent et glorieux

Te revêt d'or et de fierté

Ô Reine drapée de loyauté !


Nous te ferons et plus forte, et plus belle

À ton amour nous resterons fidèles

Et nos cœurs vibrant de fierté

Acclameront ta beauté

Vers l'horizon lève les yeux

Frémis aux accents tumultueux

De tes fiers enfants tous dressés

Promesses d'avenir caressées


Le travail de ton sol brûlant

Sans fin trempera les cœurs ardents,

Et les vertus de tes enfants

Le ceindront d'un diadème triomphant.


Que Dieu te garde en sa bonté,

Que du bonheur de ton sol aimé,

L'Amour des frères soit la clé,

Honneur, Unité et Liberté.

In English:


Proud Volta of my ancestors,

Your ardent and glorious sun

Takes you with gold and pride

O Queen draped with loyalty!


We will make you stronger and more beautiful

To your love we will remain faithful

And our hearts vibrant with pride

Will acclaim your beauty

Towards the horizon look up

Frisks with the tumultuous accents

Of your proud children all trained

Caressed promises of future


The work of your burning ground

Endless will soak the ardent hearts,

And the virtues of your children

The girdle of a triumphant diadem.


May God keep you in his goodness,

May the happiness of your beloved soil,

The love of the brethren be the key,

Honor, Unity and Freedom.

This anthem has been replaced since 1984 by a new anthem, the Ditanyè.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Meredith, Martin (2013). The State of Africa. Simon & Schuster. p. 69. ISBN 9780857203885.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "More (Language of the Mossi Tribe) Phrase Book". World Digital Library. Retrieved 16 February 2013.